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Small Changes, Big Difference (October 2016)

Published by British Blind Sport and Women in Sport
Download Small Changes, Big Difference - making physical activity accessible for visually impaired women

Small Changes, Big Difference, is the first report of its kind to explore how sport and physical activity affects the lives of visually impaired women. It looks in depth at their motivations and barriers to becoming more active, and the specific challenges visually impaired women can face when accessing sporting opportunities.

The report sets out five clear recommendations for providers about how they can better engage with visually impaired women and encourage them to be more active. By making small changes to their service offers, providers can make a big difference to the lives of visually impaired women.

Five recommendations for sport and leisure providers are:

  1. Signpost in innovative ways - use a range of communications methods and platforms already being accessed by the visually impaired community and ensure sources of information are kept up to date.
  2. Small changes make a big difference - make small amendments to existing processes and offers. This will enable more visually impaired women to enjoy the benefits of being active. Be prepared to accommodate for additional needs.
  3. Don’t hide behind the rules - Engage in conversation with visually impaired women about their capabilities and potential risks involved. Provide training and resources for frontline staff so they can make accurate assessments of an individual’s abilities.
  4. Empower women to come back - Provide a positive first experience. A good induction programme or tour of the facilities can help visually impaired women overcome confidence issues and safety concerns, and encourage them to return.
  5. Take a personalised approach – Get to know your customers as individuals with different circumstances and lifestyles, rather than someone who is simply blind or partially sighted. Position activities to appeal to the core values of women.

British Blind Sport and Women in Sport are keen to use this new insight and work in partnership with providers to help increase participation of visually impaired women in sport and physical activity.

This report is also available in a plain Word version. Please email Francis Leng or call 0161 228 2868 if you would like a copy in this format.

For more information about this piece of research please email British Blind Sport or call 01926 424247.